Digital Story Critique – Week 12


The digital story I chose for this week’s critique, is a very inspiring story that captures the feelings of a student who struggles with dyslexia and the difference a teacher can make. The story was created by Nick Damato and is called “Progression”.  In less than three minutes the creator of the story manages to convey to the viewers how a different teaching approach that focuses on the student’s achievements and not his struggles and weaknesses can make a huge difference in the student’s life and school performance. Overall, it is a very powerful story that communicates strong messages about endless assessments and the negative impact they have on struggling readers.

For my critique, I chose the following traits from Jason Ohler’s Assessment Traits:

Story

The story starts with showing on the screen an abstract canvas and the narrator introducing the setting, where the story takes place. With the very first sentence “I sit on a hard plastic chair at a desk across from my teacher” evokes strong feelings/emotions to the audience. The use of the adjectives “hard, plastic” convey how uncomfortable the student felt, while stressing the fact that, his desk is across from the teacher’s indicates the distance between the student and the teacher. The narrator continues by describing how he feels, “my eyes roll up and my throat tightens” while the teacher on the other side “continues with a bombardment of challenging questions” and “judging my level of competence and intellect”.  The narrator continues communicating how uncomfortable he feels with all the tests and evaluations he had to take, the diagnosis of dyslexia, and continues “… a grade or two behind has been my norm”. He wonders why he is different and what he would say to other students who make fun of him. The narrator’s description of the setting, when he begins the second part of the narration, determines that it is definitely more friendly. “I sit on a wooden chair with a small pillow at a different desk.” His description evokes positive feelings in the audience who anticipate that a change is coming. He describes his tutor as kind and empathetic and he emphasizes that she expresses appreciation for his efforts. The narrator’s voice cheers up as he starts feeling successful and explains to the audience that his emotions change as he learns that now he competes only with himself and nobody compares his performance with other students, and points out that his teacher, teaches in a way where “observation is more important than evaluation”. The story comes to the end with the narrator emphasizing that he connects with himself and began to see his progress.

Flow, Organization, and Pacing

The story is very well organized and moves from part to part without bumps or disorientation. Making a clear distinction between the two settings where the story takes place, the narrator communicates all the challenges he faces in the first part of the video and his successes in the second part. He keeps a steady pace from beginning to end making the story easy to follow and capturing the audience’s attention and interest throughout the story.

Sense of Audience

The story respects the needs of the audience. In a very short time, the narrator manages to create an emotional bond with the audience. He presents in a very artistic way the feeling of a student who has dyslexia and is judged constantly for his poor performance at school compared to other students his age. The tone of his voice conveys to the audience how much he wants to succeed and be like his peers. The constant judgment of his poor school performance that comes after every school assessment or test makes things worse. The narrator conveys his emotions to the audience who in their turn sympathize with him. Their audience’s emotions reach a peak of intensity when the narrator communicates his sorrow and prepares them for the anticipated solution.


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